Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Kelham Hall, 13th February
After a few invitations, the Society of Ancients Shows North outfit went to Hammerhead.
Although at Kelham Hall, Newark, Hammerhead is the Chesterfield club's annual show ... and one we haven't attended (it banners itself fantasy and sci-fi before getting to the wargaming bits ... two reasons why a dedicated historical organisation like ours might think twice).
Actually, the organisers have been trying to get more of us 'historical' societies and exhibitors to go (to balance up the show a little better) and it is, of course, a chance for us to try rescuing a few lost souls.
Kelham Hall is a fantastic venue, and one with which we are familiar (we already do both Partizan shows there) ... so is now our most frequent outing (assuming all will have us back).
Like Partizan, we were part of a Society of Ancients/Lance and Longbow combo set up by Dave Lanchester (the two societies plus a game all zoned together): this arrangement seems to be working to everyone's benefit - so many thanks, Dave.
Unlike Partizan (where we are in the furthest room, down the corridor on the left), with Hammerhead more consciously looking for participation games and diverse content, we were in the main hall - Kelham's fabulous dome. I've put a few more overlaid pictures in this entry to give a hint of the splendid building in which this show takes place. It is, of course, Nottinghamshire (so, despite the sumptuous surroundings, a chip butty and a cup of tea will cost you less than an Excel or Clarence Dock Cappuccino).
(Slingshots on the stand: old, new and electronic)
The Dome is a great location for picking up participation players - and an important mission as not everyone attending is there for their dollop of history. You get that message as soon as you walk away for a refreshment ... so many monsters and machines, too many goblins and geeks.
Hammerhead also has a Bring & Buy (something absent from Partizan for many a year): a good thing, as it keeps visitors up during the course of the day ... but not of much interest unless you like trays full of plastic Games Workshop stuff.
Worth mentioning, of course, as I know lots of visitors like them (and may be wondering if Hammehead is worth a trip).
(GitS Lite ... in need of a backdrop, perhaps)
As well as copies of the first of this year's Slingshot (glossy blue cover, 52 pages, stapled not bound, with a great selection of reviews and views ... Head on Chinese ... Goldsworthy on Romans - everyone on Romans - Steve Neate playing FoG ...) ... we had Greyhounds in the Slips with us ...
Well, in an manner of speaking (we didn't have all of it, so had to improvise)... I still had the original tiles I lay out for my 'big figures' Gladiolus (which were used for the original GitS, so are in the box as back up). So it was back to just the raw components on the table merged in with some debris from the grit box.
In fact, most of us liked the look of GitS Lite, which might also be a bit easier to get round. It needs some buildings in the background I'm sure - but now looks 'Salute-bound', so I need to get chopping polystyrene.
We played several vigorous games, and my thanks to the team for letting me take some camera time.
(Patrick and Chris entertaining some cheery players)
Watching them run the game I learned some of the street-talk for skirmish play ... slapping, 'pain phases', 'hurt markers' and such slack euphemisms.
Hopefully we added something historical and entertaining to the mix.
(the huge siege game)
Elsewhere, there was a colossal siege game (more and bigger towers) which looked like elves and orcs. You had to get pretty close to see it was fantasy, though ...
Also interesting, the Peterborough club had mounted a Napoleonic balloon invasion of England, inside a gazebo frame. The balloons were hung from a net that was fixed as the ceiling (as it were) of the gazebo.
(The Napoleonic invasion of England by balloon)
I'm not sure if that is how I would do it - and didn't get sufficient time to watch or play a game ... but it reminded me of those old 1960s wargames books, where one of the founding fathers had such a net over the top of his WW2 table (do I recall a Stuka over Stalingrad?) ...
So, whether the 'overhead net' is the best way to do an aerial game I don't know - but well done to Peterborough for figuring out how to do it at a show (and then actually doing it).
(hanging baskets ...)...
The toys were fun too.
Proper little baskets.
The show can be a scary place to walk round .. starships and space marines lurk round every corner. People sit down and play boardgames (like, just there, at the show ...) ... even the dragons outnumber the Tigers.
Inevitably, I suppose, if any of this fluff interests me it is the stuff that looks most like a conventional historical battle ... so, properly based up 15mm stuff on sprawling landscapes easily beats individually mounted 28mm plastic in my book (strange how the idiosyncrasies of scale cross the genre boundaries ... even in its traditional place 28mm looks clumsy to me ...)..
(neat looking 15mm Sci-Fi snowscape...)
OK, I like the Perry Wars of the Roses battles - but they look less like most 28s than the mediocre truck loads you get at Vapnartak or Partizan, generally (and, mostly, they don't have that awkward individual basing)...
(This chap seemed to be trying to communicate with the Daleks by mobile phone. They stonewalled him)
And there were Daleks. Daleks are always good.
Well, visually, of course .... not morally ...
In all, a very good day out. A nice location, and a good response to the Society from the visitors. A different selection of traders and exhibitors and some intriguing games.
And all just up the road from Northamptonshire.
Thanks C.O.G.S. See you next year I hope.
Slingshot subscriptions are available online (here at the website), or you can catch up with my team at a UK show.
We will be at WMMS if anyone volunteers to do it.